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Poster: billbarstad Date: Dec 2, 2009 2:37pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

The Farmer's Wife (1928)
The manxman (1929)
Waltzes from Vienna (1934)

The legalese here just confused me.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:43pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

All three films were not formally registered for US copyright. As their copyright was not registered it was also not renewed. As these were PD in their country of origin they were not eligible for GATT retoration.

Farmers Wife and Manxman were fairly widely available as PD releases.
Waltzes from Vienna has had a less prolific availabilty.

The UK has three copyright acts that effect films. These are "The Copyright Act, 1911", "The Copyright Act 1956" and "The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988". The 1911 Act protected films as photographs and recordings or a dramatic work. The copyright in the photgraphs and recording lasted for 50 years and it is argued that the dramtic work had a variable copyright term. However, in the 1920s "The Cinematograph Films Act" was passed. This Act required that all films that were shown publicly in the UK had to be registered or it was illegal to exhibit them.

When the 1956 law was passed, a new Cinematograph Film class was created. The copyright lasted for a flat 50 year term. When one law supersedes another they include "transitional provisions". These are the rules for which works are covered which act. The films that were covered by the new act were all films published after the commencement of the act (1 July 1957) and all films registered under the Cinematographic Films act (that is all films exhibited in UK between the mid 20s and the commencement of the new act.)

When the 1988 Act came in the transitional provisions applied the terms of the new act to all films that were published after the commencement of the act (1 January 1989). It states that the 1956 Act still applies to all cinematographic films published under the terms of 1956 Act (1 July 1957-31 December 1989) and registered under the Cinematograph Films Acts. This is all published films made before the end of 1988.

When the Copyright Designs and Patents Act was first put in law, it's copyright term for films was still 50 years. In the 1990s the European Union decided that it would create a uniform copyright system, this meant putting in author rights (life plus 70 years for film). This was passed in 1995 and became effective 1 January 1996. However, the transitional section of the act remains unaltered and, thus, the new provisions only legally apply to films made after 1 January 1989.

British copyright is extremely complex. This is the simplest way I can explain it.


This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-12-03 02:43:26

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Poster: quigs Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:53pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

Soooooooooo, it's okay for these Hitchcock film to be a part of the IA family?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:56pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

Yes, they were PD in the US due to no-compliance and they legally remain in the PD in the UK due to transitional regulations. So their copyright wasn't restored in 1996 and they are still PD in the US.

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Poster: billbarstad Date: Dec 5, 2009 5:00am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

I also have Downhill (1927). It appears to be covered by the 1956 act, so it's copyright would have expired after 1977. Plus it's a Gainsborough picture. Please, am I right?

This post was modified by billbarstad on 2009-12-05 13:00:30

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Poster: billbarstad Date: Dec 2, 2009 7:35pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

I'm glad that you're here to clarify and cut through what seems to me to be terribly complex legalities. Thanks again!

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Poster: quigs Date: Dec 2, 2009 4:31pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

please say yes.

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Poster: elmagno Date: Dec 2, 2009 6:11pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Are these Hitchcock films PD?

Quigs, goodness. Give the dog a bone?